We ended last week with a mutually fulfilling relationship; the happily ever after that lasts forever and ever. Who would want anything else? Well, it seems that the children of Israel would. Notice as you read how the wording is no longer Judah and Israel, but the Children of Israel?
 And the LORD said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, even as the LORD loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love cakes of raisins.”  So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a lethech of barley.  And I said to her, “You must dwell as mine for many days. You shall not play the whore, or belong to another man; so will I also be to you.” (ESV)
The Children of Israel are one people and have once again turned to their false gods for hope and love cakes of raisins. What is up with cakes of raisins? Not sure how you feel, but personally raisins are not desirable, especially not a cake of them. So what makes these cakes of raisins so desirable? What do they represent? Whatever these cakes represent, the children of Israel have strayed once again from their perfect relationship to fearing and loving their false gods. The LORD is going to have to redeem them back. The LORD is going to give up something to buy back His people.
 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.  And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.  For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.  But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” (ESV)
This is the best news ever!
Even though we have been unfaithful to GOD,
GOD is still willing and able to redeem us back to Him.
Even though you have been against GOD and unfaithful to Him,
if you are willing to love GOD the most, then He wants you back.
GOD loves you that much!
1 Corinthians 6:19–20
 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,  for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (ESV)
Our bodies are not our own but have been bought and paid for. Let us not dwell in our sin for enjoyment or sit in the remorseful pit of past sins. Is there a sin you do not want to let go of because it is so comfortable and/ or enjoyable? If so, name it and label it as sin right now. Let us today choose to use our bodies to love GOD.
 For the children of Israel shall dwell many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or pillar, without ephod or household gods.  Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the LORD their God, and David their king, and they shall come in fear to the LORD and to his goodness in the latter days. (ESV)
2 Kings 18:11–12
 The king of Assyria carried the Israelites away to Assyria and put them in Halah, and on the Habor, the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes,  because they did not obey the voice of the LORD their God but transgressed his covenant, even all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded. They neither listened nor obeyed. (ESV)
The Children of Israel lose everything. They lose all their worldly possessions including their homes, land, kings, and even their false gods. They are no longer a nation, but a people.
Look back at Hosea 3:4-5 and fill out the blanks below.
After being stripped of everything,
the people of Israel return and __________the LORD their GOD.
After being stripped of everything,
the people of Israel return and ___________the LORD their GOD.
Are we willing to seek the LORD our GOD the most?
Are we willing to fear the LORD our GOD the most?
Are we willing to love the LORD our GOD the most?
Or do we also need to be stripped of everything?
Tonight, meditate on seeking, fearing, and loving the LORD your GOD the most.
See you tomorrow.
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), Copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. May not copy or download more than 500 consecutive verses of the ESV Bible or more than one half of any book of the ESV Bible.
“Dictionary by Merriam-Webster: America's Most-Trusted Online Dictionary.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/.
Green, Jay P. “Hosea.” The Interlinear Hebrew-Aramaic Old Testament: With Strong's Concordance Numbers above Each Word, Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, MA, MA, 1985, pp. 2075–2092.
Publishing, Rose. Rose Book of Bible Charts, Maps, and Time Lines. Rose Publishing, 2015.
Strong, James. The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible: Showing Every Word of the Text of the Common English Version of the Canonical Books, and Every Occurrence of Each Word in Regular Order, Together with Dictionaries of the Hebrew and Greek Words of Th. Hendrickson Publishers, 1990.